The Cape Verde national football team, nicknamed the Tubarões Azuis (Blue Sharks) or Crioulos (Creoles), is controlled by the Federação Caboverdiana de Futebol (the Football Association [FA] formed in 1982, joined FIFA in 1986), have leapt 15 places in FIFA’s latest rankings for October to break into the world’s top 50 sides. The Blue Sharks rose from 56th to 41st position and is currently 6th on African teams rankings.
Cape Verde only two titles were the Amílcar Cabral Cup won in 2000, and Gold medal in the football tournament won at the 2009 Lusophony Games, but their greatest achievement yet was beating Portugal 2-0 in a friendly game in March 2015.
Several players of Cape Verdean origin have chosen to play for other national teams. These include Nani, Rolando, Miguel and Silvestre Varela (Portugal); Mickaël Tavares, Jacques and Ricardo Faty (Senegal); Patrick Vieira (France); Gelson Fernandes (Switzerland); Henrik Larsson (Sweden); David Mendes da Silva, Lerin Duarte and Jerson Cabral (Netherlands) and Rui (Equatorial Guinea).
Cape Verde is a group of islands 400 miles from Senegal off the west coast of Africa. Its population is around 500,000. The FA’s decision to start recruiting players who grew up in Europe, mostly Portugal in their case, but were eligible for them through family ties, their footballing fortunes improved. They qualified for their 1st Africa Cup of Nations in 2013 and reached the quarter-finals, and had qualified for 2015. They are the smallest nation ever to play in the continental finals.
The FIFA World Ranking is a ranking system for men’s national teams in association football which was introduced in 1992. The teams of the member nations of FIFA, football’s world governing body, are ranked based on their game results with the most successful teams being ranked highest. A points system is used, with points being awarded based on the results of all FIFA-recognised full international matches. Under the existing system, rankings are based on a team’s performance over the last four years, with more recent results and more significant matches being more heavily weighted to help reflect the current competitive state of a team.
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